Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Pen and Paper (07/17/14)
TITLE: Witty Inventions
By Gloria Pierre Dean
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The Chinese invented ink which was a mixture of soot, lamp oil, gelatin and musk which first became available in 1200 BC. In that same period the Romans, Hebrew and the Greeks invented parchment paper or papyrus on which many ancient documents were written.
People were writing with ink, using a stylus dipped in ink and sending letters on papyrus around the known world. Progress was made when the Romans began using bamboo stems to create pens. The first letter writer was a Greek called Cadamus.
In 105 AD the Chinese invented paper made from wood fiber. China was closed to outsiders at that time in history, so this knowledge was secretly taken to Japan and eventually to Spain by Arabs.
`Pen knives' were created to sharpen the tip of goose feathers or quills, as they were called. Quills became popular because they made better pens than bamboo stems.
In 1436, the world of ink and paper changed when a German blacksmith called Johannes Gutenberg invented a mechanical movable type printing which used oil based ink and a printing press. This invention started a revolution in Europe and the rest of the world and was extremely influential in the spread of education and the growth of knowledge as we know it today.
Gutenberg is especially famous because his printing press enabling the printing of the Gutenberg Bible. Hereafter the Word of God could be read and taught to people all over the world. The Gutenberg Bible had 42 lines on each page. In its day it was rather expensive and a copy was sold for three years of a clerk's wages. It was however cheaper than a manuscript Bible which took a scribe one year to prepare.
Personal handwriting and record keeping improved further and possibly more efficiently after the fountain pen was invented in 1702 by M. Bion, a Frenchman. The fountain pen was taken to the USA and the UK where it was mass produced and made available to the writing public. Parker pens and Schafer pens among others used ink stored in inkwells and were seen and used everywhere especially in the privacy of homes and in offices of business.
Ink cartridges stored the blue or black ink within the pens that flowed, sometimes badly, into the nibs as the writer wrote. As a school girl I had my personal ink pen and a supply of liquid Quink ink. Some years later fountain pens were designed with refillable removable ink cartridges which were less messy and more reliable.
The ballpoint pen or `Biro' was invented in 1938 by Lazzlo Biro. Globally, the writing experience changed even more. Men, women and school children everywhere continued to use pen and ink but in a much more mobile form.
In our day we now have paper that can be cheaply purchased; the choices are lined, unlined, smooth, glossy, coated, or uncoated to mention a few. Increasingly 21st century people have become adept in the use of flat screens, alphanumeric keyboards supported by the Internet, search engines and a plethora of browsers and fewer and fewer are using 'good old' pen and paper.
Proverbs 8:12 - " I Wisdom dwell with Prudence and find out knowledge of witty inventions".
Additional information sources:-
 A brief history of writing instruments by Mary Bellis.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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